(DAILY MAIL) — A mysterious cycle of booms and busts in marine biodiversity over the past 500million years could be tied to a ‘pulse of the Earth’ – a periodic uplifting of continents that results in the seas being too shallow for species to survive in, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Kansas believe evidence for these uplifts lie in the increased amounts of an element found in the continental crust that they’ve subsequently detected in marine fossils whenever mass extinctions have occurred.

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